PHUKET: A two hour-meeting today between officials and representatives of the island’s tuk-tuk drivers finally achieved agreement on a scale of official fares for journeys between towns. In principle, fares for trips of less than 15 km will be lower than the tuk-tuk drivers wanted but for trips longer than that they will get more than they originally negotiated for. As for short journeys, passengers will still have to haggle over the fare. Drivers will also get an extra allowance for trips that involve traveling over hills. Details of which stretches of road the hill allowance will apply to must still be negotiated, and the whole scheme must be approved by Governor CEO Pongpayome Vasaputi, who proposed set fares in May to end rip-offs that he said were harming Phuket’s image. At the meeting today with Prasit Amarapal, chief of the Phuket Transportation Office (PTO), the drivers agreed to fares based on a rate of 50 baht for the first two kilometers of a long journey, and 12 baht for each kilometer after that. K. Prasit suggested an extra fee of 50-60 baht where hilly journeys (and extra fuel) are involved. The PTO will now send the proposed rates to the Governor. If he approves, they could be in use within two weeks. K. Prasit said, “What we really want to do is solve problems that occur, for example, when people are told it’s 100 baht from Patong to Kata and it turns out to be 100 baht per person.” Once finalized, every tuk-tuk will have to post the fare chart prominently. Failure to comply will make the driver and the owner of the offending vehicle liable to fines of 1,000 baht each.
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